(Fun fact: When I asked Justin to pose for a picture with me, he asked if I could hold him up. Being a weakling, I said no, and he jumped into my arms anyway! Love you, Justin.)
Interview with Motion City Soundtrack vocalist/guitarist Justin Pierre
Skate & Surf Festival 2004
Asbury Park, NJ
S&S: What do you like best about being in a band?
Justin: Playing shows, I think. I like writing music, too, but that’s sort of a love/hate thing. I tend to write a lot of ideas, then I bring them to Josh and he’s like, “That sucks, that sucks, and that sucks. But I like this, but I’m going to change it all.” But now, it’s fun. I like the idea of collaboration. I think if we all had our own band, we’d be doing something totally different, but we come together in this band. The music tends to come out the way it does somehow.
S&S: What inspires you to write songs?
Justin: Food. I think I’m motivated by food. If I don’t eat first thing in the morning, I’m screwed. I watch a lot of movies. I know that you would think that I’m this rock star stud muffin, but no. I spend most of my time watching movies in my apartment with the blinds down, and I order food in. I’m kind of a hermit. So, yeah, movies. I think I spend most of my time writing about stupid things that I remember from slogans and commercials from the early 80s, like Danger Mouse. I don’t know, random shit.
S&S: Describe your dream tour. Who would you play with and, where would you go?
Justin: Superchunk. Everywhere. Superchunk, straight up. The Pixies. I don’t know what that’s all about, because I heard they’re back together. That would be sweet. The Poster Children. There are a lot of bands. Limbeck, actually. Superchunk, us, and Limbeck. That would be it. That would be an amazing tour.
S&S: How old is everyone in the band?
Justin: Fucking old. (laughter) I’m the oldest. I’m almost 28. I think Josh is 27, Jesse’s 26, and Matt and Tony are 25. But I look young.
S&S: You do, totally. This question goes along with that, but it’s kind of hard to understand. If you were to put the band in order by age based on the way they act, what would the order?
Justin: I’d have to say Matt is probably the oldest, the most mature. From mature to immature: Matt, Tony, Josh, then it’s a toss up between me and Jesse, but for different reasons. Jesse’s goofy, and I’m just a brat.
S&S: You were just added to the 2004 Civic Tour. When you receive news that big, what runs through your mind?
Justin: I don’t know. I don’t know that I even received that news yet.
S&S: Oh. Well, congratulations!
Justin: Thanks! I guess it’s just really weird and amazing. I don’t know. I played an acoustic show once opening for Dan from Alkaline Trio and Bob from Hey Mercedes. I was so nervous. It was in Chicago. I was more nervous playing that show for twenty minutes, just me and an acoustic guitar, then I was opening for 10,000 people with Blink. These tours are amazing. They don’t seem that strange. All of us are just enjoying it. The catering on the Blink tour was amazing. That was the best part, just eating the food. Mark burst into our dressing room [and yelled], “I agree completely!” And we’re like, “What?” And Mark was like, “Oh, shit. Sorry.” They’re fucking weirdos. I’m a big fan of any band that doesn’t take themselves seriously.
S&S: Who are you most excited to see here at Skate and Surf?
Justin: I have a list, actually. I’m always excited to see Coheed and Cambria. I’m excited to see Mae. I want to see Sugarcult. The Starting Line – their new stuff is amazing. Oh, and Denali. They’re fucking amazing. They’re so good live, and I wish I could come up with another adjective other than fuck. I’m completely and totally exuberant about witnessing such live acts including dot dot dot.
S&S: What is the funniest story of the band all together?
Justin: We went on tour with Rufio and on the way out, we got hit by falling rocks. We turn out of this tunnel, all we see is brake lights and then rocks falling. We were like, “Oh shit!” All these cars were pulled over to the side. There was this huge rockslide. We were there for three hours, and I had to go to the bathroom, and it sucked really bad. Josh went to help move rocks with FBI agents who were escorting a criminal across the lines. I was just waiting for The Fugitive to break out. That was pretty weird. We blew a tire on our trailer, and we didn’t even know it. There was no tire, just a rim with a little bit of rubber on each side. I don’t know. We’re not great. Our favorite thing to do is go get chocolate brownie waffle sundaes at Cafe 101 in Los Angeles. That’s a great place to get chocolate brownie waffle sundaes (laughter). They shot the beginning of the movie Swingers there.
S&S: Favorite holiday and why?
Justin: I don’t really like holidays. My birthday should be a holiday. No, I don’t even like my birthday. I might just have to say Christmas because it’s an excuse for us [my family] to all hang out, even though I don’t really do anything. I like my family, as opposed to most people.
S&S: I love my family.
Justin: Awesome, high five!
S&S: Favorite ice cream?
Justin: I like vanilla ice cream. I had white chocolate chip the other night in Chicago, and it was too much.
S&S: What is the secret behind your awe-inspiring hair?
Justin: Don’t wash your hair ever. I haven’t washed my hair in like a month and a half, and that’s kind of gross for some people. It’s not flaky. It’s kind of greasy. I shower. I just don’t wash my hair. I use a lot of product. There’s this guy named Johnny Kelson. He cuts my hair in Minneapolis. I like him because I go in, and he’s done in ten minutes. He takes a razor and just chops. It’s like an art project. That’s all I ever want is just a razor. No scissors. He works for a top trainer now. For some reason, all of the products he had on this one particular day were Paul Mitchell products, so I just started using them. Lots of crazy shit. After hanging out with The [All American] Rejects for a tour, I was reintroduced to hair spray by Nick Wheeler.
S&S: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Justin: Celebrating the 10 year anniversary of you asking me this question. (laughter) I stole that from Mitch Hedberg.
S&S: Oh my god! We were dying. His special is amazing.
Justin: I know! “A banana is like a stop light in reverse. Yellow means go ahead, green means wait, and red means where the fuck did you get that banana?” You want to hear a weird story? I actually worked on a movie that he shot. It was called “Los Enchiladas,” and I had no idea that it was him when I was working with him. And this guy that we were touring with later on was like, “Yeah, I worked on a movie that he shot called ‘Los Enchiladas,'” and I was like, “No way! I did too!” It was really bad. I didn’t get to see the movie. I heard there was a really funny scene where a taco was beating up a guy in a gyro suit. They had a fight. Anyway, that was random and over the top. What was the original question? I don’t know. I hope to have made a few movies. That’s what I really want to do. Hopefully the band has put out an album or two more.